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Our changes in Mattithyahu (Matthew) 28:1

Posted by Stephen Pidgeon on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 6:00 AM

 

Recently, a question has been raised concerning the translation of the verse Mattithyahu 28:1.

Initially, in the first edition of the את Eth Cepher, the verse read as:

In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to draw near toward the first day of the week, came Miryam of Migdal and the other Miryam to see the sepulchre.

However, in the second edition, we made the following modification;

After the end of the Shabbat, as it began to draw near toward the Shabbat of the next day, came Miryam of Migdal and the other Miryam to see the sepulchre.

Before we begin our analysis, we should first establish our policy regarding interpretation.  We rely on the Stephanus Textus Receptus as our primary source for the text of the writings often referred to as the New Testament.  We do so, because no original source Hebrew texts exists as to any of these writings.  We are trying to be accurate to the text as it is set forth in the underlying Greek upon which we must rely. Here is the Greek, with a bit of transliteration:

οψε (opseh)  δε (deh)  σαββατων (sabbaton) τη (ho) επιφωσκουση (epiphosko) εις (eis) μιαν (heis) σαββατων (sabbaton) ηλθεν (erchomai) μαρια (Miryam) η (ho) μαγδαληνη (Magdalaynay) και (kai) η (ho) αλλη (allos) μαρια(Miryam) θεωρησαι (theoreo) τον (to) ταφον (tafos).

Let’s go word by word:

op-seh'

From the same as G3694 (through the idea of backwardness); (adverbially) late in the day; by extension after the close of the day: - (at) even, in the end.

In fact, the only two other places where this word is used in scripture, the text has been originally interpreted as in the even (dusk):

Marcus (Mark) 11:17-19

And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves. 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19 And when even (opseh) was come, he went out of the city.

Marcus (Mark) 13:35-37

Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house comes, at even (opseh), or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

deh

A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.: - also, and, but, moreover, now [often unexpressed in English].

sabbaton

Of Hebrew origin [H7676]; the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se'nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: - sabbath (day), week

So, our verse could begin: But, on the even of the Sabbath . . . However, Sabbath ends at sunset in the evening, therefore, it is possible for the passage to read: After the end of the Shabbath.

ho, hay, to

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom): - the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

epipho¯sko¯

A form of G2017; to begin to grow light: - begin to dawn, X draw on.

However, there are but two appearances of the word epiphosko in scripture: one in Mattithyahu 28:1 and the other in Lucas 23:54, which, by the way, is well-known to the most respected interpretations of the text in English.

Lucas (Luke) 23:50-56

And, behold, there was a man named Yoceph, a counseller; and he was a good man, and a just: 51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Ramah, a city of the Yahudiym: who also himself waited for the Kingdom of ELOHIYM. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged את (eth) the body of YAHUSHA. 53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54 And that day was the preparation, and the Shabbat drew on (epiphosko). 55 And the women also, which came with him from Galiyl, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Shabbat according to the commandment.

ESV

54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.

NIV

54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

NKJV

54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.

NET

54 It was the day of preparation and the Sabbath was beginning.

NASB

54 It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

1599 GENEVA

54 And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath [aa] drew on.

Now, the 1599 Geneva Bible has an interesting footnote [aa] considering this Greek word epiphosko, saying as follows:

“Word for word, dawning, as now beginning, for the light of the former day drew toward the going down, and that was the day of preparation for the feast which was to be kept the day following.”  Luke 23:54, footnote [aa], 1599 Geneva Bible

Epiphosko means the drawing near to the beginning of the next day. Unfortunately for those of us who live in the post-Gregorian world of arbitrary times, dates, months, years, and seasons, we conceive of the day beginning at midnight.  However, at the time of the writing of the gospels, the day ended naturally at sundown, which is when the new day began. 

The use of this word in this passage of Mattithyahu becomes a bit more problematic for interpreters who insist on forcing the day to begin at midnight. 

So, our next words are: as it began to draw near

eis

A primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.); also in adverbial phrases.: - [abundant-] ly, against, among, as, at, [back-] ward, before, by, concerning, + continual, + far more exceeding, for [intent, purpose], fore, + forth, in (among, at unto, -so much that, -to), to the intent that, + of one mind, + never, of, (up-) on, + perish, + set at one again, (so) that, therefore (-unto), throughout, till, to (be, the end, -ward), (here-) until (-to), . . . ward, [where-] fore, with. Often used in composition with the same general import, but only with verbs (etc.) expressing motion (literally or figuratively).

We followed this with the word toward: as it began to draw near toward . . .

heis

(Including the neuter [etc.] ε?´ν hen); a primary numeral; one: - a (-n, -ny, certain), + abundantly, man, one (another), only, other, some. See also G1527, G3367, G3391, G3762.

We followed this with the words the Sabbath of the next day, although we could have said the other Sabbath, because the next word in the Greek is sabbaton.

So, the first half of the verse looks like this: After the end of the Shabbat, as it began to draw near toward the Shabbat of the next day, . . .

sabbaton

Of Hebrew origin [H7676]; the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se'nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: - sabbath (day), week.

The remainder of the text looks like this:

erchomai

Middle voice of a primary verb (used only in the present and imperfect tenses, the others being supplied by a kindred [middle voice] word, ε?λευ´θομαι eleuthomai or ε?´λθω eltho¯; which do not otherwise occur); to come or go (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively): - accompany, appear, bring, come enter, fall out, go, grow, X light, X next, pass, resort, be set.

Mariam

Of Hebrew origin [H4813]; Maria or Mariam (that is, Mirjam), the name of six Christian females: - Mary.

ho  he¯  to

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom): - the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

Magdale¯ne¯

Feminine of a derivative of G3093; a female Magdalene, that is, inhabitant of Magdala: - Magdalene.

kai

Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words: - and, also, both, but, even, for, if, indeed, likewise, moreover, or, so, that, then, therefore, when, yea, yet.

ho  he¯  to

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom): - the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

allos

A primary word; “else”, that is, different (in many applications): - more, one (another), (an-, some an-) other (-s, -wise)

Mariam

Of Hebrew origin [H4813]; Maria or Mariam (that is, Mirjam), the name of six Christian females: - Mary.

theo¯reo¯

From a derivative of G2300 (perhaps by adverb of G3708); to be a spectator of, that is, discern, (literally, figuratively [experience] or intensively [acknowledge]): - behold, consider, look on, perceive, see. Compare G3700.

ho  he¯  to

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom): - the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

taphos

Masculine from G2290; a grave (the place of interment): - sepulchre, tomb.

After the end of the Shabbat, as it began to draw near toward the Shabbat of the next day, came Miryam of Migdal and the other Miryam to see the sepulchre.

Now, granted, we could have simplified the phrase to read as follows:

At the even of the Sabbath, as it drew near the other Sabbath, came Miryam the Magdalene, and the other Miryam to see the sepulchre. 

However, we believe the phrase as crafted accurately represents the underlying Textus Receptus. 

Let’s consider the meaning of this, however, because if the Sabbaths are not understood, the timing of the death of HAMASHIACH becomes very confusing. 

Remember that all of these events occurred during the Spring Feasts (also called the latter rain).  These feasts are Pecach, Matsah, and Bikoor (also called Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits).  These feasts begin on the 14th day of the first month (Passover), the 15th day of the first month (Unleavened Bread), and on the first day of the week following the regular Sabbath during the seven days of Matsah. Let’s take a look at an example:

Sunday           

            Sunset                                    

Monday    

            Sunset        

Tuesday

            Sunset: Passover begins

Wednesday

            Sunset: Matsah (High Sabbath) begins

Thursday

            Sunset: Matsah day 2

Friday

            Sunset: Matsah day 3 – Regular Sabbath begins

Saturday         

            Sunset: First Fruits Sabbath begins; Matsah day 4

Sunday

            Sunset: Matsah day 5

Monday

            Sunset: Matsah day 6

Tuesday

            Sunset: Matsah day 7 – another Sabbath

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 12:39

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Yonah:  40 For as Yonah was three days and three nights in the fish’s belly; so shall the Son of Adam be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

This prophecy is quite specific – the words of MASHIACH are that “the Son of Adam [would] be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  That is not three calendar days where he is in the grave some portion of Friday, all of Saturday, and some portion of Sunday, because that would mean Friday night and Saturday night (2 nights) and Friday, Saturday and some portion of Sunday (generously, 3 days). If you accept the premise that the two Miryams arrived before the first day of the week (assuming the first day which is Sunday, begins at sunrise, then you have only two nights and two days. 

Now let us consider the sequence given the days as set forth above, using the Hebrew concept of days ending at sunset, and in reflection of the Sabbaths which are included with Matsah, which is 1) the first day of Matsah, 2) the regular Sabbath (Friday after sunset to Saturday sunset), and 3) the Sabbath of First Fruits on the first day of the week following the regular Sabbath.

So, MASHIACH sits with his talmidiym at the “last supper” on Passover, which in this case is Tuesday evening.  However, the traditional seder is held during the high Sabbath of Matsah.  Passover is not considered a Sabbath, because the Passover lamb is killed during the day and is prepared for consumption that evening.  MASHIACH, the Lamb of YAH, was killed at the same time that the final Passover lamb was killed in accordance with prophecy.  Look at this passage in Lucas again and consider the timing:

Lucas (Luke) 23:50-56

And, behold, there was a man named Yoceph, a counseller; and he was a good man, and a just: 51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Ramah, a city of the Yahudiym: who also himself waited for the Kingdom of ELOHIYM. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged את (eth) the body of YAHUSHA. 53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54 And that day was the preparation, and the Shabbat drew on (epiphosko). 55 And the women also, which came with him from Galiyl, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Shabbat according to the commandment.

Marcus (Mark) 15:42-47

And now when the evening was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Shabbat, 43 Yoceph of Ramah, an honourable counseller, which also waited for the Kingdom of ELOHIYM, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of YAHUSHA. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Yoceph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Miryam of Migdal and Miryam the mother of Yoceph beheld where he was laid.

Exactly what is being discussed here when the talk of the day of preparation?  The preparation is that day when each person would prepare the lamb for the coming Sabbath on the evening (the beginning) of the High Sabbath called Matsah.  Consider the following:

Shemot (Exodus) 12:1-11

And YAHUAH spoke unto Mosheh and Aharon in the land of Mitsrayim, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

3 Speak ye unto all the assembly of Yisra’el, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole multitude of the assembly of Yisra’el shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and matstsah; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remains of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is YAHUAH’S Pecach.

So, the Passover lamb is killed during the day of the 14th (bearing in mind that Passover or Pecach began the evening before).  The Passover Seder then takes place that night, the first night of Matstsah, which is a high Sabbath.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:4

These are the feasts of YAHUAH, even holy assemblies, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed times. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at evening is YAHUAH’S Pecach. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Matstsah unto YAHUAH: seven days ye must eat matstsah. 7 In the first day ye shall have a holy assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein. 8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto YAHUAH seven days: in the seventh day is a holy assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein.

9 And YAHUAH spoke unto Mosheh, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Yisra’el, and say unto them, When ye are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap את (eth)-the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring an את (eth)-sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave את (eth)-the sheaf before YAHUAH, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Shabbat the priest shall wave it.

Is the day of first fruits a Sabbath?  Consider what is found in Bemidbar:

Bemidbar (Numbers) 28:16-26

And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the Pecach of YAHUAH. 17 And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall matstsah be eaten.

. . .

24 After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto YAHUAH: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. 25 And on the seventh day ye shall have a holy assembly; ye shall do no servile work.

26 Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto YAHUAH, after your weeks be out, ye shall have a holy assembly; ye shall do no servile work:

The timing of the retrieval of the body in one that took place during the preparation and just before the High Sabbath of Matsah began.  In our example, this takes place just before sundown during the Pecach day, and just before the Matsah Sabbath.

This puts MASHIACH in the grave on Wednesday night (1), Thursday(1), Thursday night (2), Friday (2), Friday night (3), Saturday (3), and risen just prior to the Sabbath of First Fruits, which began at sunset on Saturday; three nights and three days as prophesied.

Now consider our passage found in Mattithyahu (Matthew) 28:1:

After the end of the Shabbat, as it began to draw near toward the Shabbat of the next day, came Miryam of Migdal and the other Miryam to see the sepulchre.

There is no question that the word Sabbaton appears twice in the passage in the Greek.  Can this make sense?  It makes perfect sense, given our description above, because the Saturday regular Sabbath ends, and the Sabbath of First Fruits begins. In fact, given the points set forth concerning the timing of the retrieval of the body, the three nights and three days in the grave, and the structure of one Sabbath next to another Sabbath, these are the only possible days for this to be true. 

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